Jelavic fires Rangers to victory

Following a poor opening 45 minutes from both sides at Easter Road,

the striker converted from the penalty spot before sealing the win

with his second of the day. The result meant defeat on his home

debut for new Hibs manager Pat Fenlon as the Scottish champions

strengthened their grasp on top spot in the SPL. Rangers made three

changes from last week’s win over Dunfermline for the meeting with

Hibs. Carlos Bocanegra and Lee Wallace both recovered from injury

to start and Lee McCulloch was also drafted into the side. Sone

Aluko began his controversial two-match ban for diving, while

Thomas Bendiksen and Kirk Broadfoot were dropped to the bench.

Fenlon named an unchanged side from the one who saw their game

abandoned at Motherwell last week on his managerial debut. Rangers

were threatening early on when Gregg Wylde whipped a cross into the

box from the left for Steven Whittaker but he connected awkwardly

and was denied a clean shot at goal just six yards out. At the

other end, Hibs had the chance to put their visitors under pressure

with a free-kick 35 yards out which was flighted into the area by

Ivan Sproule. Whittaker’s headed clearance landed at the feet of

Lewis Stevenson, who dragged his shot across the face of goal and

narrowly past the post. Maurice Edu then picked up the first

booking of the game after nine minutes for a challenge on Garry

O’Connor. David Wotherspoon was the next player to go into referee

Iain Brines’ book for a tug on Edu’s jersey. Real chances from

either side were few and far between but it was proving to be a

busy afternoon for the match official with Kyle Bartley also

cautioned for fouling O’Connor. Hibs could have snatched the opener

on the stroke of half-time when a Sproule ball in the box was

completely missed by Wallace and fell for Leigh Griffiths. But he

squandered a great chance by firing straight into the grateful

hands of goalkeeper Allan McGregor. Bocanegra’s name was also taken

by the referee 10 minutes after the restart, before Rangers swapped

Bartley for Bendiksen, who impressed on his first competitive start

last week. Hibs fans claimed a penalty for handball against

Whittaker but the pleas were ignored by the referee. However,

Brines did point to the penalty spot at the other end moments later

when Wallace was fouled in the box by Michael Hart and Jelavic

converted to hand Rangers the lead after 61 minutes. Hibs should

have levelled almost immediately when Paul Hanlon threw himself in

front of Sproule’s free-kick only to send his diving header over

the crossbar when he looked certain to hit the target. Rangers

doubled their advantage when Jelavic grabbed his second of the day

after 69 minutes. Wylde was the provider with a corner from the

left which found the Croatian unmarked in the box and the striker

left goalkeeper Graham Stack no chance with the header. Rangers

goalkeeper McGregor was called into action to claw a deflected

cross from Hanlon away from goal before the ball broke for Isaiah

Osbourne who failed to connect properly and bury the rebound. Hibs

handed youngster Ross Caldwell his debut in the final minutes but

there was no way back for the Edinburgh club by then.